The Smallest Gestures Make the Biggest Impact – How Colleagues Pull Together
In years from now, when you think back to 2020 and your darkest periods in self-isolation, I’m willing to bet that your happiest memories will be the ones of individual people going out of their way for you.
I have noticed people do incredible things in times of crisis - that is certainly true of my colleagues at Leadership Institute (LI). Here are my five favorite stories, and some touching takeaways.
A new business
A colleague of mine, who happens to be one of the most talented cooks I know, launched his own bakery delivery service. He supplies bagels, English muffins, and bread to customers across much of Northern Virginia.
If ever there were an example of making the best of a bad situation, this is it. Colleagues have shared his website on their social media and, of course, enjoyed their own purchases.
Key Takeaway: Your colleagues have lives outside of work. They may play in bands, act, volunteer, and more. If you can support them by attending their events, sharing their content, and donating to their causes, please do!
Another colleague completed her Master’s Degree in Communications -- years of hard work which she balanced with a full-time job at the Leadership Institute.
Sadly, like so many students around the world, her graduation was canceled. Naturally, this wasn’t going to fly with the staff at LI. One colleague took it upon herself to arrange a graduation celebration over Zoom. The colleague wore a graduation hat and ribbon, and celebrated with about 20 of her colleagues.
Key Takeaway: Celebrate each other’s successes. It might even give you an excuse for a staff party.
About two weeks ago, I received a mysterious text from a colleague asking for my address so she could deliver a present. Wanting a present, I of course confirmed my address but after a few days, it slipped my mind.
About a week later, a package arrived in the mail with a custom-made Leadership Institute Zoom University t-shirt inside. The t-shirt, given as a gift to colleagues who frequently present in webinars, is a perfect fit and you’ll no doubt see it in a webinar very soon.
Key Takeaway: Every organization should have a Chief Morale Officer. They are awesome, and company swag is a great idea.
Sip and Chats
On each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, several of my colleagues come together to drink coffee and eat breakfast. What initially started off as a replacement for ‘water cooler talk’ has become a staple of our mornings, allowing colleagues to give updates on their lives and compare isolation weekend plans.
Key Takeaway: Make sure you’re keeping in regular contact with your colleagues, even if it’s not about work. Having that interaction is an opportunity to bounce ideas around and it’s also your chance to help others.
Finally, I couldn’t write this blog without sharing my own story. A few weeks ago, a news announcement created uncertainty in my life. More information wasn’t released for several days, but luckily the further information lifted the cloud.
The worrying and the stress is behind me, but here’s something I won’t forget -- a large number of my colleagues, including senior executives, former interns, and friends collaborated to surprise me with a Zoom chat to remind me that I wasn’t facing the uncertainty alone. It is my favorite memory of quarantine.
Key Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your colleagues when you need them. Most of the time it’ll be a work challenge, but you’ll be surprised how much people care about you.